May. 17th, 2017

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I asked a friend who happens to be a lawyer:

What happens to a President who is impeached? They resign maybe and then are pardoned? Then what?

1. A sitting president, Trump, cannot be criminally prosecuted in federal or state court for any criminal conduct engaged in while in office. Example: obstruction of justice and acceptance of foreign emoluments since his inauguration.

2. The appropriate steps to pursue such criminal conduct includes impeachment. If Trump is impeached and removed from office, his constitutional successor, Pence, would have the option of pardoning Trump like Ford did with Nixon. If Pence decides not to pardon Trump, Trump could be prosecuted in federal or state court for criminal conduct occurring after his inauguration.

3. It is an open, unresolved legal question whether Trump can be criminally prosecuted at present for money laundering, collusion, and other criminal conduct predating his inauguration. A court might stay such criminal prosecutions until Trump is no longer in office so he can perform his official duties (other than golf and tweeting). There is only one Supreme Court case on the issue. In Jones v. Clinton, Paula Jones sued Clinton for sexual harassment and other conduct which occurred prior to his inauguration. The court ruled that Clinton was not immune from civil liability; and, it was up to a trial court's discretion whether to stay that civil case until Clinton left office. Clinton ultimately settled the case for $850,000.

4. Several media sources have reported that the US Attorneys in the Southern District of NY and the Eastern District of VA have convened criminal grand juries and are prepared to indict Trump, Manafort, Flynn and others. The NY Attorney General is also exploring state racketeering and other criminal charges based upon money laundering, etc. Time will tell how those federal and state criminal charges will be handled.

5. My personal belief is that Trump will not resign unless criminal indictments are brought against his adult children and Jared Kushner.

6. Good web sites to review:

Palmer Report
Mother Jones
Politicus USA
The Hill
Buzz News
Raw Story


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